News

How YOU Can Get Involved

In our last email, we covered the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and its three basic tenants (analysis, disclosure, and input).

Commenting on the EIR is a critical step in the process.  Only items that have been raised can be challenged in the future.  In other words, in order to fight something specific like traffic concerns, the actual impacts need to be brought up during public comment.  There will be two more opportunities to comment–when the Draft EIR and Final EIR are released.

The Sierra Gateway Apartment projects is undergoing CEQA’s most detailed review, called an Environmental Impact Report.  If you have specific expertise on topics like: water, water quality, fire, public safety, traffic, biology, air quality, geology, etc.  We could use your help when commenting on the EIR.  Instead of having to pay for experts to comment on the EIR–you can be our local expert.

Email us if you are able to help volunteer your expertise.

We mentioned in our last email, the City is limiting its EIR to a select few topics, which we’ve challenged, but here is the initial list: aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, and transportation.

We have legal counsel assisting with this effort.  Your help and your donations especially allow us to remain fully engaged in this process.  Please consider a generous donation to support this important work.

Understanding the Environmental Review Process

What is CEQA?

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was established in 1970 and is California’s premier environmental law.  It is pronounced see-quah.

This law has three key aspects:

  1. It requires the lead agency analyze the environmental impacts of a proposed project.
  2. It requires these impacts be disclosed to the public and the decision-makers.
  3. It allows for public review and comment on the findings and the project.

The Sierra Gateway projects is undergoing CEQA’s most detailed review in this most recent iteration of the project.  Last year the City attempted to circumvent this review and do a lesser analysis.  We called them on this and filed a lawsuit.  We won and the City ultimately agreed to do a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

One of the most important features of CEQA is allowing for public review.  This is where you come in.  Your expertise with the region, the streets, the schools, the natural resources, water quality, public safety—all of these are the types of impacts reviewed in an EIR. We’ll highlight commenting on the EIR in our next email.

Interestingly, the City has opted to reduce its analysis to a select few topics.  We’ve challenged this limited analysis in our first letter to the city.  Meanwhile, Citizens Voice is gearing up for the release of the Draft EIR.

Learn How the Project Will Impact You

Will the Project Impact Me? Yes.

If you live in the City of Rocklin or even neighboring communities of Loomis or Granite Bay, the proposed Sierra Gateway Apartments project has the very real potential of impacting you, your family, and your community.

While the Environmental Impact Report will reveal more details on specific subjects, here is a short list of the known project’s impacts:

  • Your quality of life will be reduced

    More high density houses mean more people, more cars, longer lines, and more children per classroom.

  • Your commute time will increase

    The project estimates with its 195 new units more than 1300 more car will be added to the local roads.  You can expect longer wait times at signals and turning into/out of your neighborhood and this addition of cars spills onto other streets too.

  • Your privacy may be reduced

    Adjacent neighbors have a maximum of two story homes, this project proposes three story buildings. This is inconsistent with surrounding neighborhoods.

  • Your protected oak trees will be cut down

    The proposal would remove the majority of the established oak woodlands–more than 300 mature trees.  This is in direct conflict with the City’s Tree Preservation Ordinance.

  • Your air quality will decrease

    Trees that presently convert carbon dioxide to oxygen will be removed from the project site to make room for apartments. Onsite grading and vehicular emissions will be introduced.  Residents with asthma and respiratory problems may have the most difficulty.

The Environmental Impact Report will provide more details, but the project as proposed has serious consequences for the community.  We encourage you to get involved and donate.

Stand Up for the City

Many of you know the beauty of the proposed site of the Sierra Gateway Apartments.  The photo in the banner of our email is just one perspective of the land and all of its majestic oak trees.

In April, Citizens Voice submitted a comment letter for the first step in the environmental review process.  One of our comments was the fact that the landowner illegally installed a fence around the majority of the property.

The City took these comments seriously and opened an enforcement case.  The landowner has so far refused, because of liability concerns related to dead trees/branches and possible trespassers, to remove the fencing. Download thelandowner’s letter.

The City countered this by offering a tree removal permit and giving the landowner six months to comply.  Download the City’s letter.

Citizens Voice obtained copies of each letter and raised three main concerns in a letter we sent last Thursday.  These concerns include:

  1. Complete compliance with the City’s Oak Tree Preservation Ordinance;
  2. Unpermitted fencing changes baseline conditions of the property for environmental review; and,
  3. Offered a new timeline for tree removal/trimming and fence removal.

Download the Citizens Voice letter.

Please know that we are serious about this project complying with the laws and regulations that govern the City of Rocklin. We applaud the City’s swift action to enforce the city’s laws and regulations, but simultaneously expect all the standards to be applied.

If you believe in what we are doing, support our work by donating today.  Remember, it’s tax deductible.

CVO Protests Timing, Fencing & Oak Removal

Citizens Voice Organization noted in its comment letter back in April 2016 that the proposed Sierra Gateway Apartments project site has illegal fencing around the property.  The City of Rocklin took this information seriously and opened a case on the matter.

The City asked that the fence be removed by the landowner.  In a surprising response, the landowner said, no.  They apparently fear public safety due to dead or dying trees/tree limbs and assert people are trespassing on the property–thus, increasing their liability and risk.  The City held firm and said the fence needs to come down, but offered to grant an oak tree removal permit and a six month window to get it done and remove the fence.

Citizens Voice has done its homework.  We replied with a letter to the City on three points: the oak tree preservation ordinance, the baseline conditions of the property and when the environmental review occurs, and the timing of said tree/fence removal.

Download the letters here:

What’s Been Proposed…?

The proposed Sierra Gateway Apartment project is located on 10 acres at the southeast corner of Rocklin Road and Sierra College Blvd. in the City of Rocklin.

The Ezralow Company LLC (Applicant) is requesting the City of Rocklin’s approval of Design Review and Oak Tree Preservation Plan entitlements to develop a 195-unit apartment complex and associated infrastructure, parking and landscape (Proposed Project or Project).  The site is currently designated by the Rocklin General Plan as High Density Residential (HDR) and currently zoned as Planned Development Residential, 20 dwelling units per acre (PD-20) (project site).

View the project application submitted December 1, 2015 by the Ezralow Company LLC.

The project proposal includes 195 units, a community pool, community room and leasing office on 10 acres. An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is currently being drafted for the project.  The Notice of Preparation  (NOP) of an Environmental Impact Report was released in March 2016 with a comment deadline of April 22, 2016.

Citizens Voice was prepared and through a consultant and legal team submitted comments on the NOP.  It is fundamental to participate in every step of the environmental review process in order to exhaust all administrative remedies.

View the comment letter submitted by Citizens Voice to the City on April 22, 2016.

Together We Can Achieve More Success!

As you know the immediate focus of Citizens Voice Organization is the proposed Sierra Gateway Apartments.

While we have a major battle ahead with the revised project, it is important for you to know we’ve been successful before.

A few of our recent successes:

  • Filed a lawsuit against the City and developer to stop the original Sierra Gateway Apartment Project in 2015. We won the lawsuit and overturned the project approvals.
  • Requested a transparent process from the City. The City adopted a Transparency Measure in March 2016.
  • Demanded an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the new iteration of the Sierra Gateway Apartment Project. This analysis is being conducted and the draft EIR is being written now.
  • We’ve reached out to the local print media to educate residents. We received media attention by the Placer Herald, Sacramento Business Journal and Loomis News because of our efforts.

If you are concerned about how our great community grows and how the decisions made by our leaders have the very real potential to impact our quality of life, our schools, our family, our safety and our neighborhoods, then we need your support.

We are asking for your help to spread the word, talk to your neighbors and get involved with this effort by forwarding this email, sharing/liking the posts on Facebook, etc.

Your Immediate Help is Needed

Three important steps are outlined below that support your community.

Citizens Voice Organization is a community group dedicated supporting responsible and sustainable development in the City of Rocklin.

The City has begun preparation of an Environmental Impact Report for the “revised” Sierra Gateway Apartments.  We believe this project—like others in our great city—will change the very character of the community we know and love.

Citizens Voice is gearing up for the effort, but we need your support to be effective.

Here are three ways you can immediately help ensure that Rocklin grows responsibly and sustainably:

  1. Donate to the Cause
    Your tax-deductible contributions (large and small) allow us to engage in the public process.
  2. Like Us on Facebook
    We need your online support via social media.
  3. Share our Posts/Page with Your Friends
    Help us grow our base by sharing noteworthy items from our Facebook page.

We ask you to join with us to ensure the best possible outcomes for our community.  As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Herald Covers Apartment Project

This article in the Placer Herald outlines the brief history of the Sierra Gateway Apartment project and its current status.  The City is working on the Environmental Impact Report but claims the project can’t get any smaller than it currently is.
Read the Article.

Citizens Voice Submits Comments on NOP

As part of the Environmental Review Process, the City of Rocklin offered a Scoping Meeting and public comment opportunity for the “new” Sierra Gateway Apartment project.  These specific comment opportunities allow residents, agencies and cities to outline the types of things that the Environmental Impact Report should cover.  Citizens Voice worked with our attorneys at Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger to submit a letter prior to the April 22, 2016 deadline.

Download the letter.